We’ve already told you how badass The Black Dahlia Murder’s recent tour was when it laid waste to the Camden Underworld a few weeks back – but does their tour still have the same energy now their UK stint is coming to an end? We sent Hugh Platt down to Reading to find out….
Six things we found out when we went to see The Black Dahlia Murder at Sub 89 in Reading:
1) Fleshgod Apocalypse have a gimmick. They dress in suits and use slapdash corpsepaint. Now while we’re not against gimmicks per se, they do come off as kinda lame when you’re the only band on the bill who’s pulling them. Even more so when the audience watching you is approximately 80% of kids just learning to love death metal without the deathcore training-wheels attached.
2) It doesn’t help matters that for the first half of Fleshgod Apocalypse’s set, the sound mix is so off-balance it gave us vertigo. It’s not until ‘The Egoism’ lands in the latter half of the set that the guitars muscle out Francesco Ferrini’s keyboards, which had somehow found themselves sitting right at the forefront of the mix.
3) Skeletonwitch suffer no such problems. A grizzly, hair, stinking bastard mass of heavy fucking metal, Skeletonwitch look like they sleep in ditches and sound like a bear’s hangover amplified through Satan’s own PA system. Unlike the fug that swamped Fleshgod’s set earlier, Skeletonwitch sound pristine – the balance between fast-fingered intricacies and all out hammer-hard-fuck-yeah riffing on ‘Upon Wings of Black’ is beyond spectacular. If it wasn’t for the fact that The Black Dahlia Murder were about to offer up one of the tightest headline sets Reading has seen in years, Skeletonwitch would’ve stolen the show tonight. No question.
The Black Dahlia Murder @ Sheffield Corporation - 19 January 2012
4) The Black Dahlia Murder occupy an interesting place in the modern metal landscape. Perhaps due to the makeup of former tours they’ve been involved in (or perhaps, even more shallowly, because of their band’s lengthy name), for a long time they were unfairly lumped in with oh-so-many deathcore also-rans, despite clearly coming from a far more traditional death metal background than that altogether. Now that they’ve worked their way beyond those misconceptions though, it’s proved entirely in their favour – it’s hard to think of a band who find equal favour between the fresh-faced deathcore mob and the gruffer, more traditionalist death metal crowd.
5) Max Lavelle, the former Despised Icon bassist who’s standing in for Ryan Williams due to the latter’s reluctance to tour, proves why he’s a consummate stand-in by measure of the fact that if we didn’t know any better, we’d have said he’d been with TBDM since day one.
6) As we’re watching Trevor Strnad, The Black Dahlia Murder’s frontman, thrash about on stage, an odd thought hits us. He reminds us of Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway. Not so much in his vocal stylings, but in the pure, I’m-on-stage-now-nothing-else-matters intensity that he throws into his performances. It’s either than or his